This dessert is headed for extinction. I don't see this sold anymore. Perhaps it is too mundane a dessert. But if you "dress" it up a little, voila! Fabulicious! Oh my God, did I just created a new word? Either way, lets keep our tradition going.
Palm Sugar Sago Pudding or Puding Sagu Gula Melaka is a traditional Malay dessert. It is basically chilled sago drizzled in palm sugar and coconut milk. I first made this dessert when I was 15, as part of a home science lesson. At that age, I was happy I even managed to produce anything edible. Although not epic in looks, the taste was pleasant. I love this dessert because it is served cold; it is a pudding. The taste primarily comes from of the pandan infused palm sugar syrup (also known as gula melaka in Malay) and the creamy fragrant coconut milk. The sago alone is bland but it provides a cold chewy texture to the whole pudding. When the trio is combined, it exudes a balance of flavour that is just on the dot.
I still remember my old home science recipe. I have since improvised and hopefully, do justice to a lovely traditional Malay dessert. The beauty of a traditional dessert is its simplicity. This dessert is awfully simple. It is so simple you don't even need a recipe. Just cook your sago, put it in moulds or cups and serve chilled with palm sugar syrup and coconut milk. Not daunting right? Lets us just begin....
Palm Sugar Sago Pudding/Puding Sagu Gula Melaka 沙谷米糖布丁Makes 6 puddings
150 g pearl sago
1/2 pot of water
a few drops of colouring (optional)
Palm Sugar Syrup
100 g palm sugar (gula melaka), chopped
60 g sugar
180 (3/4 cup) ml water
3 pandan leaves
1 coconut milk (200 g thick coconut)
1/2 tsp salt
1. Boil water. Pour sago into boiling water and stir to avoid sago sticking to the pot. Cook until sago becomes transparent.
2. Remove and wash under a running tap to remove starch.
3. Add colouring (optional). Scoop sago into moulds or cups. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Anything longer than that, cover pudding so that the top layer does not dry off.
4. Meanwhile, prepare palm sugar syrup. Add everything for palm sugar syrup and boil until palm sugar dissolves. Remove and set aside to cool.
5. Boil coconut milk in salt. Remove quickly once boiled. (Optional step but boiled coconut milk could last longer than fresh coconut milk).
6. Remove pudding from mould and serve with coconut milk and palm sugar syrup.